Software Development Today: Accessing the Creative Mind

Software Development Today: Accessing the Creative Mind

Is today’s developer the modern “Renaissance man”?

For decades, there has been ongoing discussion about the value of understanding individual personality types in business settings.  Probably the best-known tool over the years has been the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI.  While opinions on using the MBTI in business vary, I have personally found it very useful in understanding colleagues, avoiding conflict, and building teams.

Several studies have looked at software developers through the MBTI lens.  Nearly all found that the most common type was ISTJ, indicating Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging, generally followed by INTJ and INTP.  While ISTJ represents about 11% of the general population, it typically represented over 20% of the software developers in the studies.  What does this tell us? To me, one obvious take-away is the prominen­­­­­­ce of “I”, signaling introversion.

While it may be true that most software engineers tend to be introverted, older stereotypes have faded and perceptions have improved dramatically over the past decade or so.  Today’s software engineer can communicate with others, has a sense of humor, a social life, some awareness of the world, and is all-around pretty cool.

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